Frequently Asked Questions
About Immunization Registries
(Parents & Public)
What is an immunization registry? What is CAIR?
An Immunization registry is a secure computer system that stores children’s immunization (shot) records. It can only be used by doctors, hospitals, public health departments and other selected programs that serve children. It helps kids get their shots on time and stay healthy. California’s Immunization Registry is called CAIR. All 50 states have immunization registries.
CAIR keeps your child’s shot records safe and intact–even if you switch doctors, lose your “yellow card,” or move within California.
Can I Use CAIR to Find My Shot Records?
Finding your (or your child's) shot records can be frustrating because you may not know where to look. The California Immunization Registry (CAIR) can help make this process much easier and more successful for you. If your (or your child's) records are not found in CAIR, here are a few hints where else you might look:
physicians or medical groups that gave the immunizations.
your local health department. Local offices began collecting records at various times, so the chances of finding older records are greater.
schools the student attended in California. [Note: school records are often not accessible more than a year or two or after graduation]
family records, such as a baby book.
Note: Not all immunization records may be found in CAIR. When requesting records be mindful that the registry did not begin to receive information until the very late 90s/early 2000s and that not all health care providers in California participate.
Why should my child’s information be included in CAIR?
A registry can help protect your child’s health. A doctor can use the registry to send reminders so your child doesn’t miss shots. Your doctor’s office can also quickly and easily give you a shot record (“yellow card”) for school entry, camp, sports teams or other reasons. A complete record saves you the time and cost of extra doctor appointments, and your child won’t need to repeat shots.
What if I lose my child’s yellow card or forget it at home?
If you ever leave your child’s record card at home the day of the appointment, the doctor should have all the information from the registry. If the card is lost, the doctor’s office can quickly print out another copy for you.
What information goes into CAIR?
Information in CAIR would include your child’s name and birth date, mother’s (or guardian’s) name, and information about the child’s shots. Only your child’s doctors can access your child’s address and phone number; schools and other programs serving your child cannot see addresses or phone numbers in CAIR.
I worry about privacy. Besides the doctor and the office medical staff, who else can see my child’s information in the registry?
CAIR is safe and private. By law, it can be used only by authorized people in the medical office or health plan that serves your child. In addition, schools, childcare centers, WIC programs, foster care agencies, and other programs can be authorized to look up shot records—but only for the children they serve. The registry can only be used to check shot records, see what shots are due, and see how many children need shots.
Do I have to have my child’s information in CAIR?
The choice is up to you. By law, parents must be informed before their children’s information is added to CAIR. As a parent, you have the right to decide not to share your child’s shot records with other CAIR users. CAIR is an excellent tool to help parents keep their kids healthy.
Read the Immunization Registry Notice to Patients and Parents (this is the ‘Disclosure Form’ – you do not have to sign it). If your doctor’s office or health plan is participating in CAIR, they should have a copy available for you to read.
If you would prefer to prevent you or your child’s immunization record from being shared with other CAIR users, download, complete and FAX the
Decline to Share or Start Sharing Immunization Information Request (Lock/Unlock) forms to the CAIR Help Desk at 1-888-436-8320.
Can I change my mind about agreeing to participate?
Of course! You can ask to stop sharing your child’s information with other CAIR users at any time. You can also decide to start sharing your child’s information with other CAIR users even if you said no before.
Can I see my child’s information in CAIR?
By law, you have the right to see information about your child that’s in CAIR and to ask the medical office to make needed corrections.
What if I move or change doctors?
CAIR keeps all your child’s shot records in one place. If your child sees different doctors, changes health plans or moves to a neighboring city, the shot record will follow. Within the next few years, any participating California health care provider who takes care of your child will be able to find the complete shot record in CAIR. For now, if you move to a very different part of the state (or outside of California), ask your doctor for a current copy of your child’s record card so you can give this to the new doctor. I've recently moved here.
My family recently moved to California. How do we get our shot records into CAIR?
When choosing a health care provider, ask if they participate in CAIR so your/your child’s immunization record can be entered or sent to CAIR. Note: only authorized clinical users of CAIR are allowed to enter/send shots. CAIR Help Desk staff are not authorized to enter shots into CAIR.
How long is my child’s immunization record kept and available?
Immunization records in CAIR are retained for life, so vaccination history can be made available for college admission, trips abroad, military service, and for other purposes.
Where can I get reliable information about vaccines?
There is a lot about vaccines on the Internet. Reliable sources include: